Two Roads pre-empts 'fascinating' Charles novel after 12-publisher battle in US

Two Roads pre-empts 'fascinating' Charles novel after 12-publisher battle in US

Two Roads has pre-empted a “fascinating” novel by Janet Skeslien Charles that was the subject of a 12-way auction in the US and 17 other foreign rights deals.

Billed as “a novel of heroism in the quietest of places”, The Paris Library is based on the true story of librarians who worked in the American Library in occupied Paris from 1940 to 1944 and risked their lives by hand-delivering books to Jewish subscribers. 

The synopsis explains: “Set in both 1940s Paris and 1980s Montana, it tells the story of Odile, a young librarian who is eager to encourage a love of reading and a sense of community, but who faces huge personal conflict when she discovers her father, a policeman, is heavily involved in enforcing the tyrannies of the Nazi regime.” 

Two Roads publisher Lisa Highton pre-empted UK rights from Linda Kaplan at the Heather Jackson Literary Agency. It will be published as a lead fiction title, backed by a major marketing and publicity campaign, in hardback, e-book and audiobook on 2nd June 2020. Atria scooped the book in the US.

Charles said: “This novel is a love letter to libraries and librarians, reminding us that in the digital age, our libraries—our third space, our sanctuary, our source of facts in a fake-news world —are more vital than ever. And more than ever, they are under attack. The Paris Library is a reminder that we must protect and appreciate what we have.”

Highton added: “A fascinating novel of a compelling time in history when ordinary people, faced with extraordinary choices, didn’t always make the right ones—don’t we all wonder ‘what would I do? Would I have the courage?”